Top of page
Law

Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill passes first reading in House

woman in wheelchair entering in a building

The Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill has passed its first reading in Parliament today, marking a significant milestone to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

“The Bill aims to address accessibility barriers that prevent disabled people, tāngata whaikaha and their whānau, and others with accessibility needs from living independently,” said Disability Issues Minister Poto Williams.

“It comes shortly after the establishment of the new Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled people and is a Bill which will enable disabled people to hold Government to account on accessibility issues.

To ensure that everyone can have their say on this important bill, the timeframe for the select committee process has been extended by three months. The timeframe for public submissions will be set by the Select Committee in the coming weeks.

“This legislation means that accessibility will be at the forefront of future government decisions and policies,” said Poto Williams.

The Bill:

  • establishes an Accessibility Committee, led by disabled people and tāngata whaikaha and their whānau, to provide independent recommendations, to the Minister for Disability Issues on how to address accessibility barriers and grow
  • accessibility practices in consultation with experts and impacted sectors.
    strengthens Government accountability by creating strong, clear responsibilities for the Minister for Disability Issues,
  • Chief Executive of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, and Accessibility Committee.
    Lifts the profile of accessibility issues across government agencies.

”While the Bill does not have a regulatory focus, I expect that it will lead to new or amended regulations as accessibility barriers become more of a focus, with the establishment of Whaikaha – the Ministry of Disabled People, the first of its kind in any comparable jurisdiction.

The legislation, which delivers on a key Government manifesto commitment, will be reviewed every five years to ensure the accessibility framework is working as effectively as it can.

The Bill is expected to be passed next year and will come into effect by July 2024.

You might also like

Young businesswoman in wheelchair uses access card to enter the office. Young businesswoman in wheelchair uses access card to enter the office.

New job platform to address low employment of persons with disabilities

An innovative online job-matching platform that aims to link jobseekers…

woman young woman in a wheelchair outdoors woman young woman in a wheelchair outdoors

Bill to help women with disabilities access reproductive health care

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee…

Deaf patient use video conference, make online consultation by sign language with doctor on tablet Deaf patient use video conference, make online consultation by sign language with doctor on tablet

HHS and DOJ issue guidance on nondiscrimination in telehealth

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and…

Two reporters getting ready to broadcast news in SL Two reporters getting ready to broadcast news in SL

Ugandan woman launches online TV for people with hearing disabilities

When Susan Mujawa Ananda heard a man with a hearing…